Furong Zhang: Crossing the Dry Sea | Opening Reception & Artist Talk

Friday, October 14, 2022
5 – 7PM

Please join us for the opening of Furong Zhang: “Crossing the Dry Sea” followed by Artist Talk on October 14, 2022, 5-7PM.

“Crossing the Dry Sea” is a solo presentation of recent oil paintings by Furong Zhang addressing emotions and ideas revolving around being a first-generation Chinese American immigrant. Zhang’s paintings explore concepts of alienation and displacement, self-contradiction, power structures, industrialization, and historical erasure through allegorical figurative scenes juxtaposing mythologized memories and experiences of living in China and immigrating to America. The figures in the paintings are in the process of transformative journeys, and act as metaphors of how an immigrant’s utopian dreams collide and coexist in uneasy harmony with the reality of contemporary American society and notions of belonging. An aura of an aftermath permeates through the paintings, as the surroundings that the scenes take place in fluctuate between interior and exterior as if they are psychological landscapes.

Zhang’s paintings are full of longings and rebirths. Rebirth as an autobiographical metaphor of immigration and reconceptualization of one’s identity in face of a changed social environment, and rebirths as the process of digestion of a lived history takes place, resulting in imagery surrounding transformation. The pieces in the show reflect upon and reinterpret universal mythic archetypes and traditional Chinese mythology related to cycles of life (especially from “Classics of the Mountains and Seas”, a seminal work of Chinese mythology) to question how echoes of past tales both real and fantastical may come forth into the collective present. Symbols such as opera masks, rabbits, and porcelain pieces recur throughout.

The figures exist in uncertain roles and positions to one another, as if fleeting scenes glimpsed along a collective hero’s journey. They partake in mysterious actions they seem to question themselves existentially; the way the figures act or carry themselves is a reminder to the viewer that one’s physical body absorbs their personal and collective pasts and carries it with them.

The title of the exhibition asks: What does it look like journeying across the dry sea of the mind, a symbolic space of transformations, in-betweenness, and a search for meaning? How does one situate oneself in an absurd society?

Furong Zhang was born and raised in Shanghai, China during the Cultural Revolution. In 1977 he attended the Shanghai Normal University, majoring in oil painting. He received his MFA from Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing in 1987. In 1989, Zhang was part of the controversial first China Avant-Garde art show at Beijing’s National Fine Art Museum. During that time he participated in various exhibitions held at the Beijing and Shanghai Fine Art Museums. Since immigrating to America in 1989, he has attended residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and exhibited nationally and internationally at various museums and galleries, including Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Bellefonte Art Museum, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, and Yale University. He currently lives and works in central Pennsylvania.

Opening Reception & Artist Talk
Friday, October 14, 2022
5-6PM Opening Reception
6-7PM Artist Talk & Exhibition Walkthrough

456 Broadway, 3rd floor
(elevator available)

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